Home > Uncategorized > Old Kit Homes in New England, Part II

Old Kit Homes in New England, Part II

Sometime in the late 1910s, Mr. D. S. Chase of Grafton, Massachusetts bought and built a Sears Maytown in Grafton, Massachusetts.

I discovered this when I was reading through the testimonials in a 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

The house in the 110-year-old snapshot (shown below) was a real beauty, but given its location, I was very concerned that the house had been put to death by some overzealous developer, municipality, and/or a large institution filled with academia nuts (otherwise known as a bungalow-eating institution of higher learning).

All of these entities are a clear and present danger to modest dwelling places and they are notorious for cutting a wide swath through the heart of older neighborhoods, knocking down any little houses that get in their way (so they can build steel and glass monuments to further historical research on American culture).

The model that Mr. Chase selected and built - the Sears Maytown - was one of Sears nicer homes and fairly distinctive with that cantilevered turret on the front. Thanks to Kelly McCall Creeron, I now have a plethora of beautiful photographs showing the Maytown as it looks today.

It appears that those beautiful shakes (seen in the original photo) have been covered with a substitute siding, but siding or not, the house still is easily recognizable as a Maytown, and perhaps best of all, it was not torn down to make way for some plasticine palace.

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Sears Maytown

Sears Maytown in Grafton, Mass, as pictured in the 1921 Sears catalog.

Ma

Thanks to Kelly McCall Creeron, I now have a picture of Mr. Chase's Maytown in Grafton, Massachusetts. It's been through some changes since that photo (above) was taken in the late 1910s or early 20s, but it's still easily recognizable as The Maytown. Photo is courtesy of Kelly McCall Creeron and can not be used or reproduced with written permission.

may

It appears that the house been re-sided. It's hard to tell from the photo, but the facia boards are now missing in action, which makes me suspect that this is a substitute siding job. Nonetheless, this Maytown has the two bay windows (front and side) and that remarkable turret. Photo is courtesy of Kelly McCall Creeron and can not be used or reproduced with written permission.

Original house

The original snapshot of Mr. Chase's Maytown shows a little detail on the fascia and soffit.

other

A close-up of the contemporary photo shows that the facia is gone, and the soffit appears to have been wrapped in a substitute material (aluminum perhaps).

Testimonial as it appeared in the 1921 catalog

Testimonial as it appeared in the 1921 catalog

Testimonial of D. S. Chase from 1921 catalog

Testimonial of D. S. Chase from 1921 catalog

Sears Maytown

Sears Maytown as shown in the 1921 Sears Modern Homes catalog.

Maytown

This Maytown is in Edwardsville, Illinois and still retains its original siding. Notice the sculpted block that's used on the front porch columns and even balustrade.

Ma

My favorite Maytown is this beauty in Shenandoah, Virginia.

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  1. Kelly
    September 24th, 2011 at 13:58 | #1

    They don’t do a lot of tearing of anything down here in Massachusetts. Every town has it’s own historical society. It’s not surprising to me that a house built near the center of town is still standing. Massachusetts is all about it’s history. The country started right here. Heck they don’t even tear down the Walmarts to make them bigger/update them. They just fix them or add on if they can. This particular house has a plaque on it saying “Mary C. Chase House Circ. 1910″ Usually those are placed by the historical society. If there is one there must be more.

  2. Mark Hardin
    September 25th, 2011 at 07:38 | #2

    Rose,
    In the same 1921 catalog picture just above your Sears Maytown there is a Sears Avondale built by D. R. Humphrey in Flushing Ohio. The house is still there in very nice condition. It is located where Mill road intersects Morristown street.

  3. Krista
    October 19th, 2012 at 16:18 | #3

    I have a Maytown home in western Pennsylvania. I love my house!

    We are still trying to fix up what the previous owners did! I wish I could find picture of what some of the houses looked like inside!

  4. Trista Bressler
    August 13th, 2013 at 12:22 | #4

    My husband and I live in a beautiful Maytown model sears home in Schaefferstown Pennsylvania. We bought it 3 years ago, and it has such character.

    We are only the third people to own the home!

    The wood through out the home is beautiful. I just wish the previous owner would have left the Sears label on the cellar steps. It’s believed he threw it out.

    We can’t find one anywhere else in the house.

  5. Trista Bressler
    August 13th, 2013 at 12:25 | #5

    @Krista
    I could send you some pics of my home. I have a Maytown model.

  6. Andrew Mutch
    August 13th, 2013 at 16:13 | #6

    @Trista Bressler Trista - Have you looked for stamped lumber? That’s often easier to find than labels.

  7. Kelly Salomone
    January 19th, 2016 at 18:03 | #7

    Do you know anything about the homes in the McKnight Historic District in Springfield, MA?

    I would like to know if the home at 166 Westminster St., Springfield MA is a kit home.

    It was a glory in its day, but has deteriorated and went back to the bank.

    You can google the address, or find it on Zillow, Trulia or Springfield Preservation Trust.

    SPT photographed all of these historic homes in 1938-39.

    I’d love to see a floor plan

    Thanks
    Kelly Salomone

  8. January 19th, 2016 at 21:07 | #8

    Hi Kelly,

    The address you provided is definitely not a Sears kit home. It’s too old. Sears started selling kit homes in 1908, but sales were sluggish until mid-1910s. Pre-WW1 Sears Homes are scarce as hen’s teeth (and that’s pretty scarce).

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